At Sparta, we focus on rows as a way to train posture just as much as back strength. By doing rows with a barbell and a parallel body position, our athletes learn to maintain a “neutral spine” and get some great “anti-flexion” core training at the same time. This upper body workout emphasis on posture has a huge carryover to force production (GRF) and injury prevention (see Sparta Point). Additionally, rowing with a controlled tempo and pauses at the top increase time under tension for better muscular development and scapular control, 2 critical factors for posture (see Sparta Point). We also use an underhand (supinated) grip to better emphasize scapular depression and retraction. All these factors combined make underhand rows a brutally hard and effective back builder for your upper body workout. Keys to Rows:Pull ups seem to be the “go to” when it comes to an upper body workout or “back days” in the gym. Rows are sometimes forgotten about, or at best, relegated to the role of an assistance exercise. When you consider the common “forward shoulder” posture, as well as the prevalence of pressing movements like bench, there is a strong case for re-examining the role of rows as a primary movement in your upper body workout, whether the goal is size, strength, or posture.
- Parallel body position
- Neutral spine (neck position)
- Underhand grip
- Slow tempo – pause at the top